Athlete of the Week: Carter Tennison leads Homer to first state football championship

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 9:09 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Sports fans love a good David versus Goliath story. The talent discrepancy between the Homer Mariners — who have never won a state title —and the undefeated Houston Hawks was a good example in the Division III Alaska State Football Championship.

The advantage for David in this scenario is that he is about the size of Goliath.

On the shoulders of 6-foot-4, 240-pound quarterback Carter Tennison, the Mariners pulled off an all-time upset against an all-time opponent Saturday with a 22-20 victory over the Hawks.

“I love these guys and it feels great to be here with them and be a part of this team and a leader that has led them to this point,” Tennison said after the championship.

The Hawks soared over DIII opponents all season long with an average margin of victory north of 42 points. The Mariners were on the wrong side of a lopsided affair in week two when Houston rolled over Homer 46-0. However, there was one key component missing in that matchup.

“I didn’t get to play early in the season against these guys,” Tennison said. “It feels good to get back at that, especially being the underdogs. It definitely makes it sweeter. I am not going to lie and say I haven’t seen TikToks or posts about how they were going to beat us and stuff like that. Definitely made it sweet to come out here and beat these guys.”

With the larger-than-average Alaskan quarterback under center in the championship, Houston had a problem. Tennison rushed for two touchdowns, a pair of two-point conversions with his legs, and made timely throws when needed with his arm. On defense, the ball-hawking safety forced a fumble and had multiple pass breakups in the secondary.

“Carter is an exceptional football player and he is able to do things out there that you don’t see too often, being a big-bodied kid as athletic as he is.” Homer head coach Justin Zank said. “I was proud of him today and how he carried the team and was able to lead them to this win. He has been leading all season, but it was different tonight when we needed it the most.”

The Mariners used football, family, and fans to bring the trophy home to Homer for the first time.

”They’re part of the family too,” Tennison said of the traveling Mariner fans. “They’re part of the reason we are here. They’ve been with us all season long. I have been playing football since I was four and I have had teams that felt like family. This team truly felt like family. Family is a big thing to me automatically, it always has been. I lost my dad at a young age so I kind of had to stick close to them. It feels amazing, being able to run over there and give my mom a huge hug, crying into her arms after this — best feeling in the world.”

Tennison says he hopes to play collegiate football. In the meantime, he will try to replicate another improbable championship as a forward on the Homer basketball team this winter.